Thursday, 3 December 2015

Ho Ho Ho

Here's an amusing guide to buying gifts I made to help you with your seasonal shopping. Hope it's of use




Saturday, 15 August 2015


I joined steller. I've been having a need to tell stories, so when I heard of it, it seemed right. I also got an email to say my story had been featured (I don't know if that happens for all the newbies?) which answered a question I had: can I embed stories to my blog. Hopefully yes.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Illustration .. Treasure

Well, it's treasure to me (possibly because I have the mentality of a seven year old). I did a print just of beetles and bones and feathers called 'treasures', Mr nut loves it.

I know it's not Friday but I've got that Friday feeling because school is broken up for the summer now. In case you're wondering the nut trotted into school very proudly this morning holding the prints he'd made.

This is the first beetle in the forgetting beetles series, where I drew a beetle and then re-drew the sketch from memory. The original beetle I rescued from someone's else's garden, due to a strimmer accident. I think you can probably tell that there was carapace and leg damage, but I tried not to get too obsessed with the picture, more to observe closely

Here's the final beetle series. The detail and time spent on the sketch decays dramatically, but the final cartoon is so fully of life. Well, I think so anyway. I have more thoughts, but, another post maybe.





Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Printing with kids

If you follow craft blogs or Twitter accounts like I do, you'll be aware that it's the time of the year every seller, supermarket and shop are trying to peddle items to give to your child's teacher. I generally do a good job avoiding fabricated commercial holidays like Mother's Day, Father's Day or Valentine's Day, but this is sort of thrust upon us, like an onslaught of low quality chocolate (I mostly dutifully eat this, as Jim, the teacher, is not so keen).
I actually like Mr Nuts teacher this year, so it seems a bit unfair to, say, bake a biscuit and have the child decorate it himself with smarties and icing and (undoubtedly) bogies. Last year I contributed £2 to have my child's hand drawn portrait put on a tea tray, mainly as he drew himself dressed as Spider-Man, rendering the whole concept pointless.
I don't mind giving money, but I do mind wasting it. Ten quid might not mean much to you but it means a hell of a lot to some people in this world, and I'd rather give it to them, to be honest. That's not to say giving and gratituding and saying thank you isn't important.
With this in mind, Mr nut decided he'd make a print.
He chose this wolf design. He really wanted the stag beetle one, but it's just not ready. Neither is this one really, but close enough. I'm using these as proofs and will be having a little fiddle before releasing it. Here he is pulling his print, heave ho! All my printing inks are non toxic and super safe, so nudity it easier than aprons for small children.

And here he is with his work! Very proud. He learnt to do a three colour gradient, and I think he did a very nice job. Well done Mr Nut. There's one for the teaching assistant too of course- hurrah printing! And if they don't like it? It's recyclable (I'd totally put it on my wall, though)




Friday, 17 July 2015


Chemists call water the universal solvent, because it can dissolve most things eventually. It's the ultimate recycled product, wandering endlessly round the planet. The water you drink is the same the ancients drank, think about it. Dinosaur wee. It's ok, it's been purified since then.

Someone told me that water holds a memory of what was once in it, a mildly terrify thought considering all the things I've seen floating about in it in my various roles as swimmer, oceanographer and occasional cleaner of toilets.

How long does this memory last? Which things does it remember? How does it forget? Imagine the things it will have touched in its endless travels - every glass must be a veritable elixir vitae.

The liquid from your tap may well be a tincture of whale.


Water, its cycles and patterns seem to be a good way to explore the interconnectedness of life regardless of my views on homeopathy (they were more fun to draw than a turd too). It also ties in nicely with my theme on memory, which I hope to release a little zine on. You can get them here:




Friday, 10 July 2015

inspirations- beetles

Big news. Stumpy the stick insect, prize pet of the Nut, having been procured with tooth fairy funds the week previous, has shed his skin. He now has a new leg, so he's now called longy. He's also not dead, which is good.

Also exciting, Jim returned from France and supplied the Nut with beetles. These ones are incased in acrylic resin, which is good because someone at Mr Nuts school has the complete collection of beetles in resin magazine, whereas I, in my infinite meaness, only let the Nut get the first introductory issue for 99p, which seemed a good price for plastic coated scorpion (unlike £5. 99 fortnightly). They are not supplied with names but they sure are shiny.
Summer, round here, is a very beetley time as the stag beetles emerge from being a completely gross looking lavae and take flight in all their glory. I'm not sure how they get airborne- when they are they look like they shouldn't be. They remind me of a tipsy relative getting up too fast from unsteady seating at a barbecue, chaotically teetering along flailing their arms for balance whilst shouting the beetle version of 'in coming!! Coming throughhhhhou OW' before crash landing in the shrubbery and spending a good ten minutes extricating themselves (or maybe it was just that particular beetle that was graceless?). Anyway, I think they are breeding under the decking.

The other reason I'm thinking of beetles is, I'm thinking about a beetle print I did called 'forgetting beetles', where I looked a a stag beetle hard, drew it and then re drew it periodically over a week or so without looking at the beetle again. It's a surprisingly fun and intresting thing to do, so I shall be doing it again I think. The thing I find is, that when you draw from life you get a good drawing that look like what it's supposed to, and all the nonartists will applaud you, because I've been on pintrest and we all know that good art is drawing a glass of water so realistically you have to put your pencil next to it to prove it's a picture.

However, for me, my favorite drawings are the ones are a subject I have drawn, and know, but am not drawing from life. It is as if the very essence is distilled, and though it's not how it appears in reality, that's how it appears to me, inside, it's key charactieristics. I think I'd like to work on a book of those drawings- but I also think I am wandering and thats a job for another blog post. Let me know your thoughts on the matter and I just might do it.

You can learn about stag beetles and how to help them here

Tuesday, 16 June 2015


Prize winning peeps are: Jenny Galbraith, Sam Austin, Julie Robertson and Debbie Black- please drop me a line with your address so I can post you a raven.


I was going to do a video of the drawing names from a hat but then I would have had to go inside and get a hat and I'm too lazy for that, but at the same time I want you to imagine I used a hat and not a shoe filled with names written on bits of paper from a torn up medication fact sheet because that's what was to hand. So that's why there's no picture, sorry.